Getting your child connected with the natural world is an important part of fostering their development, their need to play, and their natural need for exploration. In a world that is growing daily with new technological advances, it is easy to push aside the natural world in favour of the technological, but for children, connecting with nature is critical to both physical and mental well-being during their formative years.
Benefits of Connecting Children With Nature
Not only will exposure to nature helps children to get fresh air and exercise, but it can also assist them with various areas of development including emotional, physical, social, and intellectual. Some of the most Important benefits that connecting children with nature can have includes:
- Promoting Creativity – Studies have shown that children are involved in more creative play when in natural outdoor spaces and that exposure to nature can also improve their problem-solving skills and creative thinking.
- Improving Social Relation – Free play in nature-based outdoor environments can help your child develop healthier social interactions.
- Reinforcing Eco-consciousness – If your child is unfamiliar with nature, how will they know the importance of protecting it? By exposing children to nature and the benefits, it will help them to have a better understanding of how nature connects with our world even if it is becoming more technically advanced.
- Increasing Physical Activity – Having a large area to run and develop gross motor skills will add to a child’s physical development and teach them the benefit of maintaining physical activity in their daily life.
- Promotes Healthy Nutrition – As children learn about food that is provided by nature and how it works to aid in the health of their body, they are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables that are essential to their daily diet.
- Reduces Stress – Regular exposure to nature has been shown to reduce stress in young children as well as lessen the symptoms of ADHD.
Ways to Get Your Children to Connect With the Natural World
Now that you know how important it is to your child’s development to get them to connect with nature, you may be asking yourself in what ways can I help to foster this connection?
Let them Get Dirty
Keep some play clothes for your children that you don’t mind getting ruined and let them play freely without worry. Try not to stress about the dirt since exposure to dirt can actually help improve their immune system.
Answer Their Questions
It is easy as parents to get frustrated with the constant questions your child may ask, but it is important to remember that it is you who provides them with the information they need to learn. Spend the day outside with your child on a hike or picnic, encourage them to ask questions about what they see and let them explore.
Take Them Camping
Plan an outdoor camping trip and adventure even if it is in your own backyard. Let them see the way nature changes at night and plan activities whether it is looking at the stars or catching fireflies. Be sure to include some outdoor games to get your child to learn to interact with nature while engaging in play.
Plan Regular Nature Activities
Make sure to set some time aside at least once a week where you and your child will participate in a nature based activity or project. Consider searching for leaves for a scrapbook, or a scavenger hunt to locate various bugs or plants.
Take Them on Field Trips
Take a day trip to a local farm or orchard where your child can see animals and crops being grown and explain to them how the farm works to provide their food. If you visit an orchard, have them pick some fruit that you can use later to make a healthy snack or treat with them.
Help your child connect with nature by getting them involved outdoors and showing them the importance of the natural world. This connection will not only getting them physcially motivated but will also help improve their social, cognitive, and emotional development.